They’ve been friends for years, they play music together, and now they’re going on a low budget, cross Canada tour together, all packed into a recently acquired RV.
“We’re a tight knit group,” agreed Patrick Codere of Mindil Beach Markets, a band born on the Sunshine Coast. “You must have a relationship outside the band, in order to have one in it.”
Most of the band members grew up together, graduating from Chatelech and Elphinstone secondary schools, moving to Victoria and even working together at their day jobs, in some cases.
“I started music with Daniel [Kings-bury] and Pat,” said Matt Posnikoff. “I’ve never known any other band.”
The tour will launch their new CD, It Might Take Long, and it will take them to Ontario and Quebec with the journey documented by video and podcast. They kick off in Victoria this weekend and we won’t see them again on the Sunshine Coast until June, their budget willing.
Their last tour didn’t go so well. The group headed to the music mecca of California because it was something they had to get out of their system. But audiences were not plentiful, and misfortune dogged their vehicle. They were hit by a drunk driver and had a wheel almost shear off, among other mishaps.
As they waited at a car repair shop for hours on a hot dry day, fighting off the buzz of flies, it seemed they’d hit their lowest point. The guys begged a motel to allow them the use of a swimming pool, and on their way to the refreshing water they found a symbol for their journey so far — a dead, parched frog, a leap away from the pool.
“It’s a long road to get to where you want to go,” drummer Cam Ainslie summed it up. “Don’t burn out before you get to the swimming pool.”
The dried up frog is immortalized on the cover of the new CD and it has proven a reminder to grow slowly and focus on the markets that already love them.
While on the tour they gave away sample CDs of the music, thousands of them, up to 750 in Portland alone.
“It was a random gift,” said Kingsbury. “They can repay it by coming to the concerts.”
The group is realistic that the music industry has changed so much and that fans will get free music one way or the other. If they like what they hear, they’ll go to the website and buy it. It’s all part of the challenge in managing the creative side and the business side as well as staying mentally fit and athletic in order to bounce around on stage.
“The band is a labour of love,” said Kingsbury. “It’s a privilege to have support from our families.”
On their latest recording, MBM have refined their sound.
Keyboardist and rapper Rod Campbell described the album as “less reggae, more rock.” The throbbing Smoking Gun or She’s a Vampire will not disappoint rockers, and tunes like Ignorance is Bliss showcase their intelligent lyrics. Smoking Gun has hit Victoria airwaves already.
In 2011 the group included a passion other than music — they founded the Jellyfish Project, an environmental initiative targeted at B.C. high school students to spark conversation about ocean sustainability. The band does a live performance followed by a slide presentation on the declining health of our world’s oceans — overfishing, plastic pollution and sustainable solutions. It seemed like a natural to be concerned about the oceans when you come from the Sunshine Coast.
Playing the high schools is different than their rock concerts, they say. For one thing their act starts early in the morning and the response from students is slow at first until they become engaged with the music.
“The kids are into it; they know more about the environment now than we used to,” Codere said.
Kingsbury and Campbell recently travelled to San Francisco for a training session with former vice president and Nobel Laureate, Al Gore. Since attending, they’ve added a section on climate change to their presentation.
For more on this interesting topic conveyed in an articulate website, see www.mindilbeachmarkets.com.